“The great aim of education is not knowledge but action.”
I always have to struggle to explain my point of view about whether a degree is necessary to succeed in life or not. We all have our reason on why we go to college or just drop out; we have different goals and college might just not be the asset that we’re looking for. Unfortunately, most people just follow the mass, they don’t bother finding what they were born for, people are going to college only because they were told to. Don’t make this mistake and learn from this post.
Do you need a degree?
It depends on two things. First on you, what kind of person you are. Maybe you’re the type of person who likes to study at college and hang out with young students like you. You love the environment, and that’s why you’ll continue on the path of college. Someone else will rather study through all the tools available on the internet and books or maybe he has a mentor but anyway he doesn’t fell like he belongs to college, I strongly advise not to do something you don’t like.
Be self-aware, You must know what you’re good at and what you’re not good at. If you know who you are what’s your weaknesses and your strength; you’ll have a great advantage. Don’t lie to yourself, if you’re a bad seller don’t keep trying to be a salesperson, rather learn what you’re good at. Self-Awareness is critical, don’t skip this one.
Then it depends on what career you want to have if you want to be a doctor or a lawyer I highly recommend you to get a degree otherwise you’ll have troubles to work in these industries. But for instance, if you want to be an entrepreneur, is it needed? Well, we have a lot of examples of entrepreneurs who succeeded without a degree. A degree is not required in most industries; you can be the best IT engineer without having any degree, you might have learned way more through experience and hustling in your industry than someone who’s learning in college. All the value is in the action whether you have a degree or not, if you don’t act don’t expect something in return, it’s simply physics.
what’s worth a degree today?
Our grandparents and our parents were told that the degree was the key to a successful life, and it was true. Indeed, a degree was a prerequisite if you wanted to join a company, you had to be educated, and college was one of the only sources where you could get some education. You didn’t have the internet and as much book as you have now (read my post about the importance of reading books). Today knowledge is available to all and the only obstacle between education and you, is yourself, which means that the only obstacle to success is you.
You might say that even if you’re well educated, companies won’t let you in without a degree, that’s how it works. As a matter of fact, companies are starting to change their entry criteria, and they don’t ask a degree as a prerequisite anymore. Some companies like Ernst&Young and Penguin Random House are already doing this. Penguin Random House said, “there is increasing evidence that there is no simple correlation between a degree and work performance.”
A few weeks ago I was looking into Linkedin and found many career opportunities; companies were asking either a degree or equivalent experience. I even found “entrepreneurial street creds” as an alternative to a degree on vaynermedia.com.
What does it mean? It means that your knowledge and experience are more valuable or at least as relevant as a degree.
Experience vs education
We have to face a new reality; a degree is no guarantee of success anymore. Having a degree is not enough, and if you bet everything on it, you’re going to have a hard time. Companies need practical employee; most college doesn’t teach practicality, they teach theory. I can tell you how to swim, but you’re not going to learn until you take a dip.
You’ll say I can’t get any experience without a degree. That’s not true, you have to hustle, it’s not by sending few resumes on the internet and going to a couple of interviews that you’re going to get that valuable experience and street creds. Hustle is the key to success.
Experience is as valuable as education; you need both to succeed. Again education without application is worthless; some people spend their life reading books, but they don’t have the gut to apply what they learned and end up with regrets. Act now, apply what you’ve learned today, fail and learn from your mistakes as soon as possible.
$1.2 trillion is currently the student loan debt in the US. While in Europe college are free or cost less than 1000$, the student loan debt has never been so high in the US. Many students start their life with a loan of more than 100.000$. Education shouldn’t be a privilege. This debt is creating a bubble that is about to burst, but we’ll leave this topic for another post.
You must realize that getting a loan is a tough decision to make, is that degree worth thousands of dollars? You should think twice about it, with the same money you could do much more than going to college and it would bring you much more value. An example would be to travel and meet recognized people in your industry. This would be cheaper than going to college. Some US students are going to Europe to get free tuition fees; it’s a great experience, and I find it to be the best alternative if you want to get a degree.
Finally, this post is all about helping you to figure out what’s the best fit for you. Going to college has its upside as well as its downside. So if you feel like you have to go to college, and you can afford it then just do it but please don’t ruin your life with a student loans, apply for as many scholarships as you can. Also don’t waste your time doing something just because you father want it or your grandparent told you to do it, they are not living your life. So do what you have to do and trust yourself, life is not a straight path, it’s a long journey until you reach your goals. One thing is certain, you have to study and execute to succeed.